The Pastor Challenge

The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Friday, June 28, 2019

VBS Day 5

Well, another one in the books. A good last day. Always sad when it ends, but always good to be able to rest, too! I wanted to take our group picture yesterday when I knew more people would be there, but alas! I forgot. So we took it today, even though not everyone was able to be there.

If you want to read the daily newspaper we sent home with the kids everyday, click here.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

VBS Day 4

Only one more day of VBS! Adults are tired and kids are sad. It's always a full and fun-filled week. Controlled chaos. Hopefully, anyway. :-)

Some more pictures . . .

Awesome teachers!

Helpers worth their weight in gold.

Something fishy in this picture!

How cool is this craft?! And all you need is paper, glue, and a clothespin!

Buddies working together.

My new assistant.

A Brief Interlude . . .

A brief pause in my VBS posts to acknowledge the re-election of Rev. Matthew Harrison as Synodical President. Good news for some, bad news for others. He is a sinner who is not perfect and needs forgiveness. And he needs our prayers. There are a great many challenges facing the whole church throughout the world, and a great many challenges facing our synod and her congregations. So pray for him. Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. Pray for the Spirit for him. Pray for faithfulness. Pray for strength. Pray for humility, love, mercy, and compassion for him, and these things may also flow forth from him for others. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

VBS Day 3

Things are settling into a routine. The children are learning lots but also having lots of fun. One of the things they will do this year is decide themselves on where they want their offering money to go. We have been learning about the needs of children around the world who need to hear about Jesus - in Haiti, the Baltic States, The Sudan, Russia, and Southeast Asia. They are beginning to realize how hard it will be to decide. There is so much need!

But, in the mean time, a few more pictures . . .

Serious about crafts!


Wait - doesn't everyone eat carrots this way?

And how about a short video . . .

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

VBS Day 2

Yesterday: God created water. We need water to live. Jesus is living water. But today, what if there's too much water? Then you have flooding. So Noah, the ark, and the rainbow were today's story, and how the rainbow and the baptismal font both remind us of God's promises to us, not to destroy but to save.

And just for a little fun, some pictures . . .

Here is what the teachers dream their children will be like:

And here's the reality . . .

See ya' tomorrow!

Monday, June 24, 2019

VBS Day 1

So Vacation Bible School started today. A little rough start for me. River of Life is our theme this year. Water in the Bible. Baptism. Story of creation today. A couple of pictures:

What if God created us with feet that were too big for our bodies?

Homemade maracas for a craft.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Got 15 Minutes or So . . . ?

If so, give a listen to the commencement speech given by Dr. Robert George at Patrick Henry College this year. If you don't know of him, he is a well-respected scholar of Christian Ethics and Natural Law. He's written with others about many of the social ills in our country today. His address starts at about the 21 minute mark.

Here's the link: 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Father's Day

Wearing one of my Father's Day gifts. :-)

I went to see my father on Father's Day. He wasn't having the best day, unfortunately. But that's okay. We had some time together. He's 95 and still kicking - that's something. I'm lucky to have him around still.

Some 75 years ago, in the Army Air Corp in World War II.

Today (minus the uniform.)  :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Used Car Shopping - Update

[See my previous post for the beginning of this story . . . ]

So we tried. We asked the salesman we were working with to ask his boss/owner to allow us to get the car we were interested in looked at. We tried to reach out to the owner to get his permission. Nothing. Not even the courtesy of a reply. OK. Message received. Time to move on.

So on Friday, back out we went. My daughter and I met halfway at a little family-owned business in Spotsylvania where my daughter found a Honda Civic just posted for sale the day before. The owner was very nice. He was surprised we found it so quickly. We looked at it and it seems it decent shape. We then asked if we could take it to a mechanic nearby to get it checked out. His reply? "Sure! No problem!"

So we went to a place down the road. A small shop. We asked the mechanic (who turned out to be the owner, I believe) if he would give the car a once over for us. Even though he was busy and had a full days work lined up, he took us right in and checked it for us! It was in good shape, he said. Nothing to cause him concern.

So my daughter is now the owner of a 2005 Honda Civic. ;-)

So if you're in need of a used car, E Smart Auto in Spotsylvania is a place I would recommend. Also, Olsons Garage - to take us right in even though he was busy, that was great. Both places, very nice people.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Used Car Shopping

So my daughter and I went out yesterday to look at some used cars. She needs a replacement. Soon. Like, by the end of the month. Her current car failed inspection and will cost too much to fix.

I hate buying used cars. Some people swear by them and absolutely won't buy a new car. "It loses so much value just by driving it off the lot!" Some truth there. I'm the opposite. For when I buy new, at least I know what I'm getting. Buying a high mileage used car . . . you're inheriting problems. And it's hard to know just what.

A couple of years ago we did this and got her a car. Turns out it had a lot of problems. Maybe some we should have foreseen, others not. But we learned, and hopefully we won't make the same mistakes. We saw a Mazda like the one in the picture yesterday. Not too high mileage and it has a good reputation. I'm hoping the man will let us take it to a mechanic to get an evaluation done. If not, do we walk away? Try to low ball him? Problem is, we have a deadline and time is always in high demand.

The salesman was nice. A schmoozer, of course. Lousy coffee! Anyway, I'll let you know what happens. :-)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

98 and Still Going . . . !

Here I am with one of my homebound members yesterday, the matriarch of our congregation. 98 years old and still going strong! What a dear child of God she is. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Family Update

A couple of weeks ago, my youngest was inducted in the National Junior Honor Society. Of course, we are very proud! Here's a picture of her (second from left) with her friends from that night. (Sorry it's not the best quality. Hard to keep teenagers still for pictures, you know!)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Difficult Forgiveness

I just want people to do what they say they are going to do. Make a promise, keep it. Make a commitment, do it. Why is that so hard? Is that such an unreasonable expectation?

I spent hours on the phone today trying to get people to just do their jobs and honor their commitments. It makes me frustrated and angry and want to take vengeance! Just do what you say you are going to do!

So I got to thinking . . . about forgiveness. And it seems to me that forgiveness in the abstract is easy; but forgiveness for specific things is hard. Like, doing what you say you're going to do and keeping your commitments. Have I failed at this? I'm sure I have. So . . . Matthew 18 . . . the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant . . . he's forgiven a huge debt, but won't forgive his fellow servant who owes him a small debt. See me in that man? Yep. How many commitments, promises, have I not kept? And yet our Lord has forgiven me. Now I grow angry and frustrated and want vengeance on my neighbor who has done the same as I, yet on a smaller scale?

Let me quote St. Paul here: Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25a)

Lord, help me do better.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wait for the Lord

If you've ever read through the psalms, you've heard the phrase "wait for the Lord." It's in a couple other places in the Old Testament, but mostly in the Psalms. What does it mean? Is it kind of a generic phrase, to wait for the Lord to act, to answer whatever it is you prayed for? Or is it more specific than that, referring to something special . . . like, wait for the Lord who is coming. Wait for the Lord who was promised to you. Wait for the Lord to fulfill His promise of a Saviour. Wait for Jesus. 

It seems to fit. The very first Christian creed was "Jesus is Lord." And did you know the phrase "wait for the Lord" is not in the New Testament? Hmmm. Maybe because, as the angels told the shepherds, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." Or in other words, the wait is over - Joy to the World, the Lord is come! No more waiting . . .

Luke 24:44 - Then [Jesus] said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Well, did it? :-)

Took a long break from the ol' blog. Been quite busy. But hopefully I can post a little more . . .

I'll start with this past weekend. I was in Saint Louis for the pre-Synodical Convention Floor Committee weekend. I was asked to serve on committee #5 - Theology and Church Relations. It was interesting. Theology-wise, there were overtures dealing with creation, cremation, and Scripture, (and probably a few others), and Church Relations-wise, there were overtures dealing with altar and pulpit fellowship with other Lutherans in Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. We had one on changing our relationship with Canada, and another on the Lutheran World Federation - the worldwide association of (mostly) liberal Lutheran churches. (I was on the subcommittee on our relations with other church bodies.) I learned a lot - not only about how this whole process works, but also about how complex our relationships with other church bodies around the world can be.

Of the 42-some overtures we were given, we boiled them down to 13 resolutions (if I remember right!) for the convention to consider . . . that is, if there is enough time to get to all 13. Each committee is given an allotment of time on the floor, and depending on how much conversation and debate there is, may not get to them all. So we also had to prioritize them, most important ones first.

Our Floor Committee will also meet the day before the convention begins. First privately, in case anything has come up between now and the convention that may necessitate a new resolution or adjusting one of the ones we drafted this weekend. And then second, there are open hearings the morning of the start of the convention when others can come and speak to each Floor Committee with any concerns they may have. That should be interesting, too!

I got to worship in the International Center Chapel a few times while there - that was nice. Wonderful organists played, and I got to enjoy listening to some sermons. We finished a little early, so I bumped up my flight home and for some reason, they seated me in First Class for my flight from Saint Louis to Philadelphia! That's the first time I've ever gotten to fly that way. Nice. A guy could get used to that.